The roots of stress and what to do

What is Stress?

Stress is often perceived as a negative reaction, but  it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our ability to feel stress has traditionally generated a physical reactive response. When we feel stressed, our body believes it is under attack and shifts to what is commonly referred to as ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode, causing a release of a mix of hormones and chemicals. This creates a reaction in our bodies, resulting in blood being diverted to muscles and shutting down certain bodily functions.

Through this hormone release, specifically adrenaline we feel a rush of energy and can focus our attention in order to respond to the situation in hand. In our world today, the ‘fight or flight’ mode can still apply but the core challenge is when our body falls into a stage of stress in inappropriate situations. In this situation when blood flows to only the vital parts of our body, certain functions in our brain can be affected and this can result in an inability to think properly, a state of mind that can really impact our work and life at home. If we remain in this state of mind for longer periods it can have a negative influence on our health.

How can stress affect a person?

One key challenge related to stress is that we all experience stress in various ways and as a result, stress-related impacts can differ from person to person. As a result, stress cannot be generalised but it is clear that stress does have negative effects and can manifest in one form or another. Stress will affect the weakest part of our character or physiology, whether this be a skin condition or low tolerance levels, this will be areas likely to appear under conditions of stress.

Whilst stress cannot be avoided, there are ways to manage the impacts of stress. A vital factor to reduce the risk of stress is being capable of identifying stress and associated problems that you can control before any stress-related conditions develop. This may be in terms of physical, emotional or behavioural conditions.

We all have experienced times of stress, but the negative impacts of stress really start to develop in situations where people display these changes for an extended period of time. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to further illness, affecting our immune system and potentially leading to a number of other health-related issues.

Is stress a mental health issue?

Higher stress levels can become overwhelming and studies have shown it is closely connected to mental health in two particular ways:

Stress can result in mental health problems and accentuate existing issues. People who find it a struggle to control stress may be more likely to develop a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression.

Mental health problems can ultimately cause stress. For people who may be managing mental health-related problems on a daily basis, along with medication, appointment or treatments can contribute to higher levels of stress.

How to manage and reduce stress

Recognising Stress: As previously mentioned, being capable of recognising the problem before it develops too far is critical. UK based organisation, the Stress Management Society believes that you should try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you may be experiencing. The Stress Management Society emphasises that you should look out for certain physical warnings such as fatigue or headaches.

Identifying the causes of stress: Stress-related organisations suggest that people should try to identify the core reasons for stress and define them into separate categories based on those that can be managed practically, ones that should get better over time and others that you can’t control. Organisations such as MIND recommend trying to let go of the last two and only focus on the conditions of stress that can be controlled.

Assess your lifestyle: People need to consider whether they are taking too much on in their day to day lives. Can people do certain things which can be done in a more leisurely manner? Taking time to consider these factors enables people to put things in order and to organise your life more effectively and hopefully reduce the pressure that may be placed unintentionally on a person.

Stress Management Retreats at Thera-Sea

Thera-Sea provides life changing stress management retreats by the ocean that are educational and exciting in equal parts. Thera-Sea takes well-being back to basics within nature.

Our experienced professionals are passionate about giving people the tools they require to manage stress and improve well-being.

The educational courses break free from outdated preconceptions and enable people to take back control of their lives through a lifestyle approach to health. We help develop a greater knowledge of the body’s systems and how to utilise coping skills that can transform people’s lives.

Stress Management Retreats in the UK

This 3 day, 2 night well-being retreat in Cornwall provides people with the tools they need to manage stress and improve well-being through progressive lifestyle medicine and ocean sports.

This course will take you back to basics within nature at our spectacular secluded location on the banks of the River Fal in the heart of Cornwall, that is only reachable on foot or by boat. Expect messing around on boats, sea swimming, bushcraft, great food and developing stress management skills.

Based on the grounds of a 300 year old Stone ‘Woodsmans’ cottage, there is an entire woodland wonderland in the forest including a huge fire pit, hunting Lodge, tree house, outdoor kitchen, bushcraft area and outdoor feast table. Accommodation is derived of an indoor communal barn or hammock area. There is also a swimming platform perfect for wild swimming in the river Fal. This course is suitable for all abilities.

Relevant Stress Management Organisations

Stress Management Society

The Stress Management Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping individuals and companies recognise and reduce stress. Since our inception in 2003, our dream has been to create a happier, healthier, more resilient and sustainable world.

MIND – Mental Health Charity

MIND provides general support to empower anyone facing a mental health problem. MIND promotes tools to improve services, increase awareness and improve general understanding related to stress and mental health.

Mental Health Foundation

The foundation has a vision to provide good mental health for all worldwide. Their mission is to support people who understand, protect and manage mental health. The foundation places its core focus on prevention, believing that the best way to deal with a crisis is to prevent it happening in the first place.